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FDA reports nine deaths, rare cancer linked to breast implants

New Jersey women may be surprised to learn that at least nine women have died from a rare cancer linked to breast implants, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The cancer, known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma, attacks cells that are present in the immune system and is not considered breast cancer.

In a report issued on March 21, the FDA said that women who receive breast implants have a small but increased risk of developing anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or ALCL, compared to women who do not receive breast implants. As of February, the agency has been notified of 359 potential breast implant-associated ALCL cases, but the exact number is difficult to pinpoint due to limited implant data.

Of the 231 reports to the FDA containing implant data, 203 involved implants with textured surfaces. Up to 11 million women have breast implants worldwide, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Plastic Surgeon Foundation. Of those, fewer than 10 women are diagnosed with breast implant-associated ALCL each year. The FDA advises women considering breast implant surgery to discuss the use of textured implants versus smooth implants with their doctor. Women with breast implants should pay attention to them for changes, including fluid buildup, hardening or masses around their implants. Routine mammograms and MRIs are also recommended.

Patients who have suffered harm due to their breast implants may have grounds to file a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the product. If the case is successfully proven in court, a victim may be awarded compensation for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Source: CNN, "9 deaths and rare cancer linked to breast implants, FDA says," Madison Park, March 22, 2017

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